Edith Kennedy, Manager: USB Alumni Relations

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East Africa

West Africa















University of Stellenbosch Business School

DBA and MBA; MPhil degrees in Development Finance,

Futures Studies and Management Coaching; Postgraduate

Diplomas in Dispute Settlement and Leadership

USB Executive Development (Pty) Ltd


The USB aims to establish lifelong involvement with its alumni!

Our objectives:

To ensure that our alumni advocate the USB by being positive ambassadors

To get meaningful support from our alumni for:


Events, projects, academic activities


Bursary Programme and other fundraising efforts


USB Social Engagement initiatives

To get quality advice for our Advisory Board and committees

To gain access to:


Business, public sector and government


Global community



The USB Alumni Relations Office has the task of facilitating the effective

cooperation between all its stakeholders:


Continuous Learning Events

•  Leader’s Angle: Monthly presentation on business trends and new thinking by visiting professors, business leaders and academic authors

•  We Read for You: Bi-monthly academic forum discussing current business books

•  Master Classes: Ad hoc one day courses on a particular topic

•  Annual Refresher Seminar: 2-day business top up lectures and workshop


•  USB e-News – fortnightly

•  Printed USB Agenda magazine - biannually

•  Online Leaders’ Lab research journal – biannually

•  USB website and dedicated alumni portal

Networking events

•  Social as well as formal gatherings with prominent speakers

Non-Profit Organisation Programme

•  Alumni founded the programme and manage it with support from USB and USB-ED

•  2012’s part-time MBA students raised money for1 NPO manager to enrol. The MBA students also assisted with skills development. MBA students now have better idea of how alumni are involved.

Rewards and recognition


Establish the connection

•  Dedicated manager for alumni relations

•  Increased communication through eNewsletter, Twitter, LinkedIn groups, USB Agenda

•  Alumni web portal to update details, to provide information on events and committee members, to give access to publications, research and DVDs, to get involved and to give access to exclusive resources like job opportunities, refresher videos, alumni business services

Create committees that are committed and fresh

•  Arrange AGM for each region

•  New committee and chairperson for each region

Establish specific committee portfolios

•  Each region chooses portfolios based on its specific requirements, e.g.: Communication & Networking Business Development Continuous Learning Social Engagement Bursary Fund Student Advancement Recognition &Celebration

Build the USB brand

•  Each region gets its own email header


Strongest membership – 6000

Very diverse membership

- 350

Most active members - 2900

Largest membership outside SA

- 1700

New committee full of ideas -


Widely spread members

- 500


By taking a more personal approach!

Send regional emails instead of mass emails

Phone alumni and personally invite them to events in their region

Engage on various social media platforms

MBA selection interview process:


300 alumni from all over the world – including New York, Geneva,

Nairobi, Jakarta and Springbok – responded to request for assistance


Alumni phoned, emailed and visited the Alumni Office to say:

Ø “How else can I help?”

Ø “I really enjoyed the interview and would like to stay in contact with the



•  SA, Namibia, E&W Africa, Europe and UK •  Committees: Chairperson with 3-15 members

•  Liaises between


and Alumni


•  Link between Alumni

Association and USB/USB-ED •  Conveys strategy of

Association to Committees and alumni

•  Link between USB/USB-ED and Alumni Association •  Full member of Advisory

Board; conveys strategic decisions to Association •  Acts on behalf of Association


Funds and fund-raising

•  So much we want to achieve, but no “spending culture” in SA

•  Fundraisers not well supported or attended


•  Draw alumni in another way. Speak to them personally and ask how they plan to make a difference.

•  Build pride in the USB and alumni achievers by providing more platforms for recognition and rewards

•  Start with the students. Include final-year students in regional alumni networking events.


•  Historical data outdated needs to be integrated into new systems and updated.

•  Duplication due to multiple study programmes at both USB and USB-ED

•  Updates difficult because alumni change jobs or companies block mass emails

•  Email fatigue – alumni do not read their mailers anymore and many alumni unsubscribe


•  Appoint 1dedicated staffer to update database and investigate missing information

•  Spread the word that the web portal allows alumni to update their own details


Stronger communication and networking efforts

Each region has come up with an idea to re-engage their constituents. E.g.

Western Cape holds social media workshops to help alumni use LinkedIn and

Twitter for discussions, news, events.

Attract more people to web portal and encourage them to contact their local

committees to help build regional databases.



Formal reunions annually


2014: USB’s 50th Anniversary

Social engagement


Following the Association’s vision and mission, each region will invest time and

energy in running the USB NPO Programme and raising funds to send local NPO

managers on the course thus reinvesting business skills in local communities.


Alumni will act as mentors on the USB Small Business Academy to bring knowledge,

skills and business exposure to small business owners from previously


The USB aims to establish

lifelong involvement




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